Someone asked me the other day what is one piece of advice you would give your younger self? I have NO idea. I was stumped. Honestly. I think I said ‘to get a job while you’re still in school’. Come on, out of ALL the things I could of said. I said that! Then I looked back and thought about what I was doing when I was my ‘younger self’, which I am assuming is age 16-18. When I was 16-18 I was in school. I was one of the eldest in my school grade because I repeated Year 4. My parents always used to say I repeated school that year because I was “smart”. Which clearly, I wasn’t or I wouldn’t of repeated. No biggie. The upside was that when I turned 18 in year 12 I got new friends. Friends that liked to drink alcohol, their parents alcohol (until the parents realised they had none left) For a small fee I would buy my new “friends” alcohol. It was usually Blue Vok, Passion Pop or UDLs. Oh yes, the good old days. That little ‘job’ got very annoying after a while. I stopped because I soon found out that it was illegal to buy alcohol for under age people and those ‘friends’ never spoke to me again. No big loss.
Ok, back to it – Soz, got a bit sided tracked – I would like to re answer that question – What’s one piece of advice you would give your younger self? Answer: Don’t be a dick and believe in yourself.
I thought I would write a letter to my younger self. I was told that this exercise (writing a letter to yourself) is therapeutic. I’m yet to find out why but will let you know at the end of this blog entry. Drumroll please……without further ado I present to you a letter to my younger self. Hang in there, I have no idea what words are going to spew out of my brain but I sure hope its ok and someone takes something from it! Umm, also I’m not sure if I refer to myself in 3rd person. You’ll find out. It’s weird.
Dear Karen (not yet known as Kaz or Kazza)
Hello. How are you? I hope you are well. Clearly you are well, because I’m writing this to you (me) I’m writing this to you in hope that my 17 year old self is reading this. Which is not even possible because you are well over 17 years old now.
I thought I would write to you, to clarify that you do not need to change anything about yourself. Well, maybe you could stop screaming at the kids when they drive you to the absolute brink of insanity and you question yourself and your worth. But other than that, your life is pretty good. You’re now a wife, a Mum, an aunty and you run 2 businesses. You may not earn a lot of money and don’t own a house of your own (society still says owning a home ‘The Great Australian Dream), but you are comfortable and you provide for your family, go on holidays, have some savings and pay your bills on time. This life is good. Side note, most 17 years olds these days are nothing like you when you were 17. The world is worse. The world has certainly turned.
When you were 17, you had your first boyfriend. You didn’t know it then, but this boyfriend shaped the way you would love and would want to be loved. At the time, you were smitten, he was your first love and you thought you would marry him and live happily ever after. You were also very obsessed with Beverly Hills 90210 and thought that you could have a love life like Kelly (or Brenda) definitely not Donna. You hated Donna. Complicated as fuck. You loved the ‘status’ of having a boyfriend. As long as you were passing at school, not going out every single weekend, were home a few nights a week and told Mum if you wanted dinner saved (parents’ rules) your life was complete. When you look back now. It wasn’t and you wished you realised sooner how much time you wasted and all the friends you lost because you wanted to be showered in gifts (and he would do just that). You also wanted to be obsessed over and wanted to feel important by someone that was also obsessed with you. All these things ^. You hate now. Now, you just want someone to love you and be completely devoted to you. Which you have! The Real Deal.
When you were 18, you finally found the strength to break up with that boy. Turned out, he had HUGE mental issues that you couldn’t help him with, nor could you fix. You were happy. You felt a massive weight off your shoulders, you could breathe again. You had your friends back (you missed hanging out with them) . You were lucky enough to still be friends with the mutual friends that had become your friends over the year that you were a couple aswell. It was nice. Your parents were happy aswell. Mum knew that boy wasn’t right for you, but she stood by you and she never once said ‘I told you so’.
2 years after you finished high school. You met a boy that would eventually sweep you off your feet. You didn’t know it at the time but your life will be full of love. Your life will be content and you will be happy for a long time.
I can’t compare Teenage Love to Adult Love. It’s different. It can be complicated. You must go through the hard times to get out the other side. There are many hard times in life. Although I think life throws you more happy times than hard.
I’m not sure if the meaning of this letter is meant to be me looking into the future for you or if it’s meant to be just a heads up on what life is all about. In saying that, looking AT the future you’ve done great. Not all the time. There will be many happy times, lovely times, times where you won’t be able to contain your emotions and you will amaze yourself. For example – childbirth, believing that you are worthy enough of love, falling in love and with someone that sweeps you off your feet, falling in love with your children and helping them grow into little versions of yourself. That’s a massive achievement right there.
Then there are the sad times. Times where you are going to cry for days because you are scared of the thought that you are in an awesome relationship but it’s all new and you don’t know how to act, how to feel and scared you’re going to screw it all up (you didn’t by the way). You will lose and gain friendships, be it due to the crazy bullshit that is called life and you just couldn’t find the time to catch up with each other. It happens. Then there are the friendships in life where you may not see your friend for years, but when you finally see each other nothing changed. Hold onto those friendships. Those ones are the best and are few and far between. But, on the upside you find friends along the way. Friendship is important. You’ll go through deaths of family members and the family pet. This hits hard. Remember – it gets worse before it gets better. You’ll go through parenthood. Now that will make you question your purpose in life. Parenthood/Motherhood is a mixture of cluster fucks and sunshine and lollipops. It’s full on. It’s also rewarding. You will question your being. But you’ll make it out the other side. Apparently you will. You should do. Seems most people do. Whether or not you’re sane by the time your kids are adults is another subject.
This thing we call life is 80% of the time exciting, the other 20% is bullshit. You feel like your drowning and you have no idea how the hell you are going to get through it. But you do. Like Mum always say “Karen, you always seem to land on your feet” and you do. Whether that means, in the early adult days that you have had to sell some personal belongings to make sure you can pay for your car registration. Then that’s what you had to do. If that meant you had to work 16 hour days to provide for your family so your kids could have a great holidays and Christmas season. You did that aswell. Not only, did you do that. But there are a zillion people in the world that did the same thing. Because they can and they know they have no other choice.
You’re raising kids. Raising kids these days is HARD. There’s a thing called social media. Kids (and adults) and consumed by it. It’s all very complicated, just be thankful that digital cameras and social media was not around in the late 90s.
You are also a wife – a wife to a man that loves you FOR you. Flaws and all. He even loves that freckle on the side of your face that you tried to get rid of with a lemon when you were 16. He is the love of your life and you can’t wait to grow old together. You have been together for 20 years after all.
Can you believe you are a business woman? Yep, you have a business. Two businesses actually. You like one more than the other but you are killing it in the business world. It suits you. You also have a fear of working for someone else. Which messes with your head. You also need to add more money to your superannuation, your accountant tells you this every single year. Adulthood!
Oh and your name KAREN, is now defined by how you treat people. The world made that up. Yes, the whole world made up that all Karen’s are arseholes and complain to managers if you don’t like something. It sucks. So change your name is Kazza or Kaz. Or just deed poll it and make it official. It’s fucken annoying and it needs to stop!
If you were a real 17 year old person reading this I would usually end the letter something along the lines of, I do hope we can catch up and have lunch together. Blah Blah Blah. You like to be home by 7pm most nights, so dinner is out. Lunch it is! But I can’t catch up with you. Which is sad. All I can do is hope there is a 17 year old person out there reading this. Or, if there is any kind of person of any age reading this and taking something from it and they decide to write a letter to their younger selves aswell. It has been pretty theopoetic like people have said it would be. I guess if I had to write a letter to the First Boyfriend, that would be completely different. Actually, I would never do that. I decided a LONG time ago to let that sleeping dogs lie. Although when I do see him my entire body shakes, I have to sit and end up having a massive panic attack. Teenage Love really messed you up.
Now as an ‘experienced adult’ I’ve told my kids (one of which happens to be nearly 17 and one that is 18) to get a job. Keep the job. Learn to budget. Pay your bills. Make sure you spend time with your family and be the best person you can be. There’s much much more to life. But that was start. Wonder what piece of advice they would tell their younger selves in 20 years?
If my letter to my future self didn’t inspire you and it you hated it. Firstly, thank you for reading this far. Secondly, go to Google and search ‘benefits of writing a letter to your future self’. It might just inspire you to be honest, I can think of much worse things you can write about. I might write a letter to my children. Now, that sounds fun. I’ll start with the 18 year old and explain to him How Not To Be An Arsehole. Joking. Obviously. Or am I?